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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Stephen Hawking

Larry King NowJul 03 '17

After being awarded the Stephen Hawking medal at the Starmus festival, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gushes over the famed scientist, remarking that his contributions to science transcend the Nobel Prize.

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Larry King: I’m amazed at the kind of people here. What an amazing… and you! You got the ‘Stephen Hawking Medal’ and I’ve interviewed Stephen three or four times. What did it mean to you to get that medal?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Well, so, we’re reminded that Stephen Hawking is not only a brilliant scientist but, he himself has committed so much of his life, time, and effort to bringing the universe down to Earth. I guess we can start that time clock with ‘A Brief History of Time’, a runaway best seller from back I guess I should say the 80s or if not early 90s. And he’s done TV shows, he’s written multiple books...

Larry King: With ALS?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: With ALS; or whatever version he has that we can still live as long as he does. But obviously, he’s a quadriplegic. Right now, he guides his communication through his eyes because he can still control what his eyes look at. There’s a screen in front of him. And, so, it’s just stunning that first, he has the stamina for all that he creates and produces. But also to receive a medal in his name, I think the honor of any award is established by the legacy of either who created it or others who had won it before you; so I don’t take this lightly.

Larry King: You shouldn’t.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: I take it as an affirmation that somebody was paying attention. He made major discoveries related to black holes. He basically brought black holes into a next generation of understanding. In fact, there’s a whole… there’s a kind of energy that emanates from a black hole that bears his name. It’s called the Hawking radiation. We’re in Norway, so I guess they give the Peace Nobel Prize here. But the Nobel Prize, he’s surely done enough work to get a Nobel Prize.

Larry King: You would think.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: If he doesn’t get one, I’d be disappointed. But, you know what I think, I think he’s transcended the Nobel Prize. Same with Einstein! If you talk about Einstein - he did this, the relativity - you don’t then say, “did you know he won a Nobel Prize?” It’s anti-climactic compared to what he actually accomplished at that level. So, he may transcend all awards he may possibly be given.

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